Inclusion Matters 2023: “It takes a village to raise a child..."

...fostering resilient communities through inclusive practice

In our present times of global upheaval, our school communities need to be places of security and stability for our children. All schools work with children and families who face many challenges as they interact with an education system that struggles to accommodate diverse needs. Increasingly, schools have become the only remaining ‘universal service’, open to all and free at the point of access, with increased pressures on school staff as other services have fallen away or ceased to exist at all.

“It takes a Village to raise a child…” is an African proverb meaning that an entire community of people must interact with children for those children to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment. Equally, if that community neglects or forgets about some of their children and young people, life chances may be diminished with an impact that can become lifelong.

Our Inclusion Matters conference this year offers an opportunity for school staff, education professionals and educational psychologists to come together and consider what it means for a school to be at the centre of the ‘village’, to listen to ideas from others seeking solutions, to experience different ways of coming together as a community and to gather strategies and resources to sustain you through the coming months.

To book click here 

For full programme scroll to the end of this page

Keynote speakers

Keynote 1

Ruth Ibegbuna: Rekindle School

'The room where it happens'

Ruth Ibegbuna was the founding CEO of RECLAIM, an award-winning social action and youth leadership programme with a focus on working-class young people being seen, being heard and leading change. Prior to this, Ruth was a senior teacher in a South Manchester state school and supported young people in obtaining some of the best GCSE results in the country, for 3 consecutive years.

Ruth is now a leading social entrepreneur who has brought her unique strengths based approach to a number of initiatives that have brought real change to the lives of young people. Read more here: Meet Ruth

The work at Rekindle featured in this Guardian article: Soulful Education

And in this short film:

Rekindle School Promotional Film - YouTube

Keynote 2

Nicole Dempsey: True Inclusion

Nicole Dempsey is Director of Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities and Safeguarding at Dixons Academies Trust, a multi-academy trust of 16 schools across the north of England.  She is also a Deputy Regional SEND Lead, in the Lancashire and West Yorkshire region, for Whole School SEND, a consortium of organisations committed to enhancing the quality of education for learners with special educational needs and/or disabilities throughout England. 

She writes about SEND and inclusion on her blog,, and tweets under the username @NDempseyINCO14

Nicole’s inclusive philosophy is described in her blog ‘A Mountain Rescue Approach to SEND Inclusion’

Keynote 3

Leslee Udwin: Think Equal

'Brain Building for Wellbeing'

Leslee was voted by the New York Times the No.2 Most Impactful Woman of 2015 (second to Hillary Clinton). In 2019 Leslee was awarded the UN Women for Peace Activist Award at the United Nations, UN Association USA’s Global Citizen of 2019 and the Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award.

A former filmmaker and now campaigner for a system change in education, Leslee is no stranger to successful campaigns. Leslee founded UK-and-US-based Not for Profit global education initiative “Think Equal”, of which she is also the Executive Chair. This early years education programme, the solution to the problem the film laid bare, is currently impacting 280,000+ children in 26 countries across 6 continents. Think Equal has been awarded the prestigious World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) Award 2020 and has been selected as one of the HundrED Global Collection 2020 Most Innovative Innovations in K-12 Education.

Partners of Think Equal include UNICEF; UNESCO; Columbia University; the World Bank; Montessori; the Institute for Healthy Minds (Wisconsin Madison University); Charter for Compassion; the Dalai Lama/Emory University’s SEE Curriculum; and the Yale University Center for Emotional Intelligence.

Read more here: Meet Leslee

Seminars and Workshops 

There will be opportunities to choose 2 seminars/workshops during the day.

For more information visit our Seminars page here


There will be opportunities to engage with the various exhibitions during the day.

For more information visit our Exhibitors page here

Programme for the day

There will be opportunities to choose 2 seminars/workshops during the day.

08:45 - 09:30 Arrival/Registration

09:30 - 10:30 Keynote 1

10:30 - 11:00 Break

11:05 - 11:50 Seminars & workshops

12:00 - 12:45 Keynote 2 

12:45 - 13:55 Lunch

14:05 - 14:50 Seminars & workshops

14:50 - 15:00 Transition back to the Great Nave

15:00 - 16:00 Keynote 3 

16:00 - 16:30 Tea and finish


June 23, 2023 at 9:00am - 5pm
The Monastery Manchester
89 Gorton Ln
Manchester M12 5WF
United Kingdom
Google map and directions
Teresa Regan · · 0161 445 3522